You have likely heard of hypothyroidism or “low thyroid,” which is commonly associated with fatigue, lethargy, and weight gain, but do you know about cancer of the thyroid gland?
The mission of the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare is to improve patient outcomes by communicating relevant, evidenced-based scientific information to healthcare providers. It follows that Connexion is helping to spread the message that thyroid cancer deserves heightened awareness among both patients and providers.
Who gets thyroid cancer?
With nearly 57,000 new cases diagnosed in 2017, thyroid cancer is not a rare disease. Although men are more likely to develop cancer overall, thyroid cancer occurs three times more frequently in women. Thyroid cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women but is not even in the top-ten cancers for men.
How is thyroid cancer recognized?
Often developing silently, thyroid cancer is recognized when a characteristic symptom, such as a nodule (a “lump”) in the front of the neck, arises. Other symptoms that may cause suspicion of thyroid cancer include hoarseness, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Diagnosis begins with imaging of the suspicious nodule using ultrasonography and is confirmed by a biopsy in which a fine needle is used to sample thyroid cells.
Is it always cancer?
No. Fortunately, most thyroid nodules are benign (not cancerous) and not life-threatening. Furthermore, one subtype of thyroid growth that previously accounted for about 1 in 5 diagnoses was recently downgraded from the status of cancer.
As is common in oncology, true thyroid cancer has distinct subtypes that vary in frequency, inheritance pattern, and aggressiveness.
How is thyroid cancer treated?
Most thyroid cancers are successfully treated with partial or total thyroidectomy (removal of the thyroid gland). Lifelong oral thyroid hormone replacement therapy is needed.
How concerned should you be?
The incidence of thyroid cancer has been increasing dramatically over recent years, even suggesting a worldwide epidemic. However, this observed increase is likely due to increased surveillance and detection of asymptomatic and non-deadly disease — in other words, overdiagnosis.
What can you do?
Be aware of and learn about thyroid cancer, with the assurance that it is usually highly treatable when found early. Know your own body and stay up-to-date with recommended health checkups.
Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month has been observed worldwide each September since 2000. For additional information about thyroid cancer, go to: http://thyca.org/home and https://www.thyroid.org.
About the Connexion Healthcare Oncology Center of Excellence
Connexion Healthcare is a full-service global provider of strategic medical and scientific communications with decades of experience providing exceptional service to the pharmaceutical industry. We provide services through 2 Centers of Excellence—Oncology and Rare Disease—and possess core expertise in these therapeutic areas and their marketplaces.
Connexion Healthcare’s Oncology Center of Excellence offers executive talent with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Our medical directors have conducted oncology research at leading institutions and major pharmaceutical companies. Our account leads have years of project execution expertise, and our medical editors are versed in the language of oncology. Our design leads are tops in their fields and ensure that your objectives are met effectively and even surpassed in an industry-eloquent and compliant manner. Our team works with you to conceive a strategy and execute communications through your product’s lifespan – from drug discovery through market launch and beyond. With particular expertise in phase 2 through postlaunch, we will engage with you wherever you are in development and whenever you need us.
For further information regarding the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare and how we can develop oncology communications to differentiate therapies by their unique attributes, contact:
R. Steven Lang